Thursday, September 14, 2023

Space Available 1970-2023


Our only world was spread over space, a stretch of road to be pedaled on a bike, or a field of tall grass full of green leafhoppers, or the darker, uneven soil of a forest, where we buried coins and effigies. We communicated with shouts or things thrown, competed in speed or the height one could climb a tree. Withdrawn from the open spaces, the cave of one's room. In the “living room” below, a film of rough, overcolored pixels hung down the front of an electric box.


Our only world drew its lines crisscross over roads and county highways, always the same roads and highways, cassette tapes and CDs strewn, half shy girls willing by the lake, but not fully willing. We communicated through hair styles and beer buzz, our rooms become temporary cells for mulling and fury and carefully hidden baggies of pot.


Our only world was stretched over oceans but on paper, newspapers and books under the hegemony of Empire, waves of students and their profs marching against the shore to no avail, themselves being Empire. Aslant in cafes and diners, we communicated through quotes, editorials, withering looks; crashed on tatty sofas in cheap apartments. We wondered if it was wise to start using “e-mail”. When our computers crashed, as often, the screen would freeze, the screed was lost, but other screeds were saved on floppy disks. Somehow the vain wide expanse of oceans began to parallel the flat expanse of our screens, until the former was collapsed into the latter, a watery death of the real without even water.




Their only world is tight against them, personal, its single line reaching the distance between thumb and eyes. At one end of the line, near their thumbs, they swipe the real up or down or back and forth, all beings flicked swiftly in and out of existence in a space not three inches across. They communicate through digital traces, cartoon winks, words half spelled. All other spaces and actions, their gestures and dress, the form of their bodies, even the food they eat—it all exists to be gathered into the tiny screens, only becoming real once it is glanced over by other eyes, flicked into relevance by other thumbs. They compete through digital traces, scores tallied up for all to see in devices that spy on them as they spy on each other. Empire.

QED: Idiocy, Ltd.

Chinese edition / 中文版 : Idiocy, Ltd.

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